This week has been especially hard for a lot of us in theatre in the US. A lot of the diversity inherent in our community feels threatened, both by potential policies that will pass, and by the implicit approval of hateful behavior in people across the country. We are also anxious about the safety nets and health insurance we rely on for some semblance of financial security in our lives. We are worried about our international collaborators, who already face difficulty crossing our border and working here. And of course, we worry about the theatre itself, which now must work under a President-Elect who has crossed IATSE picket lines in the past and shown no hesitation to jackhammer artwork into a thousand pieces if he can make a buck off of it.
Theatre can survive. We’ve survived the complete banning of our craft by governments and religions in the past. Modern theatre continues to survive its complete censorship (Belarus Free Theatre) and even survives in war zones where its leaders are assassinated (Jenin Freedom Theatre).
But we need to recommit to protecting everyone in our community and making sure the theatre remains a safe space for us to work and tell our stories. And we need to continue telling stories to ensure our country can stem the tide of demagoguery and bigotry that has plagued it throughout its history.
Ah, paper props. They can be fun to do… if you have time. And if you know how to use the software. And you’re able to print them correctly. My friend and colleague Will Griffith recently began a company to do all that. BAM! Creative Art is a one-stop shop for designing and printing any manner of paper props, whether posters, magazines, book jackets, etc. Will is one of the few artisans I’ve seen actually design and print a full-sized newspaper. It looks very promising, especially since he works in theatre and understands the parameters and challenges that other prop people deal with.
Now that I’ve totally pimped his new business on my blog, I think I’ve made up for the fact that I mistakenly cut up his template for Adirondack chairs back in Louisville.
Berkeley Rep is currently working on a new musical based on Green Day’s American Idiot album. The set will include massive walls completely plastered with band posters and fliers. On her blog, Lisa Lázár explains where these posters are coming from:
We all met up in front of a punk club in Berkeley (which is credited as being the place where Green Day got its start), and ripped posters off off telephone poles.
A lot of the posters on the set are being printed and photocopied by the scenic artists, but a good percentage is being augmented with found objects. Earlier this month, she actually put a call out for such posters:
Could you go out in the next few days and tear down some show posters, and mail them to me?
We’re covering the gigantic walls of our upcoming show with this sort of thing, and we would like as many real posters as possible.
Propping a show occassionally calls for finding an obscene amount of one specific item. It always requires getting creative and thinking outside the box to avoid spending your entire budget.
Don’t forget to check out the rest of Lisa’s blog for more great stories and tutorials from the world of scenic art!
Flickr is an incredible source for scans of ephemera from all eras. There is so much to find on there. One of my dreams is to somehow organize and catalog all of this; until then, all I can give you is a somewhat ordered list of things I’ve found. Remember that this only represents a sliver of a portion of what’s available on the internet.